We had an amazing class on prototyping by Erik Flower all the way from Salt Lake City, 14,000 miles away, but resonating and making tones of sense. It was an eye opener in many ways, especially to many who think you need to be a ultra trained uber geek to do it.
These are some of my takeaways :-
It is not that hard
Prototypes in essence are there to help you generate questions. It is an easy, quick and dirty way to say, I am thinking of this (present a drawing, sketch e.t.c) and asking the target audience, what do you think? You then use their feedback to tweak, adjust, or dock the idea all together. It allows you to fail fast, learn fast and move on.
It is not optional!
Here is an analogy : An astronaut does not launch a space ship and half way through the flight think, wait, how can we change this to make it better? That would be pretty dumb right? Unfortunately, that is what we do. We rely on our experience and think for the user. I guarantee, there are things you will miss; some difficult/expensive to fix!
It is cheap
All it takes often is a piece of paper, a pen and 2 hours or less to do a low fidelity prototype. Based in the feedback, you can jump onto any of the free prototyping tools and build out the basic interactions for further tests.
Why is that cheap?
- It costs nothing but time
- It is okay to fail at it, you learn and are better for it
- It saves you designing and coding in functionalities that are nice but not necessary = time and money saved